Marketing - Advertising - Design

Archive for March, 2010|Monthly archive page

How to make your site Mobile Friendly.

In Mobile, Online/Interactive, Social Media on March 31, 2010 at 11:33 pm

So you’ve created a blog. Maybe its the most interesting, relevant blog around. Maybe many people have followed you and subscribed. Maybe many people are reposting, Digging and reTweeting you. The next natural extension is to go mobile. I’m a believer that if you have something to share online, you should make it mobile-accessible. I’m not a researcher, but I’m certain that there are enough stats to support the fact that a huge portion of the population (regardless of demo) view content on some sort of handheld device.

Since we are on WordPress, here is a site that give you 11 Ways to take your Blog Mobile

11 Ways to Create a Mobile Friendly WordPress Site

By Editorial Staff in Tutorials

Mobile technology is going big. Every other user is now viewing your website from their iPhone or other smart phones. It is essential that you create a mobile friendly version of your WordPress site. Majority of top sites and blogs have already made their sites mobile friendly, but there are tons of other sites and blogs that lacks a mobile friendly version. In this article, we will share some ways you can create a mobile friendly version of your WordPress blog for your users and for yourself.

For Users

In this section we will share all the ways that will create a mobile friendly version of WordPress for your users.

Read more

Mapps – MPA’s site for pubs that have gone mobile

In Competitive landscape, Cool Treatment/Idea, Editorial, Online/Interactive on March 30, 2010 at 10:37 am

mapps

The Official Magazine App Directory 

from MPA

Mapps is the definitive guide to mobile applications produced by magazine/media companies. From news, sports, entertainment and gaming to finance, fashion, beauty and health, magazines are developing apps that extend the influence of their trusted brands and complement consumers’ on-the-go, digital lifestyles. This directory includes apps on a variety of mobile devices and platforms [iPhone/iPod Touch (iPad coming soon), Blackberry, Android] with links to download the apps.

Mapps (Magazine App Directory) represents members of Magazine Publishers of America and will be updated on an ongoing basis.

Click here to visit MPA’s Mapps

5 Essential Apps for your Facebook Fanpage (for business)

In Advertising, Competitive landscape, Design, Marketing, Online/Interactive, Promotions, Social Media on March 29, 2010 at 8:47 am

A nice feature of the modern social web is that it’s modular. You can plug in and customize pre-made pieces of software (often created by other users or companies), and mix and match what works best for you without a lot of technical know-how. Facebook works the same way with apps.

Many Facebook apps are built for casual use, like the social games and quizzes you may see your friends using in their personal feeds. But there are quite a few apps that are ideal for a business Fan Page. These are useful for customizing your page with greater detail, showcasing your content from other social sites and getting more information from your customers. Here are five essential Facebook apps that your business may want to take for a spin.

The last advertising agency on earth

In Advertising on March 26, 2010 at 10:08 am

http://www.futurelab.net/blogs/marketing-strategy-innovation/2010/03/last_advertising_agency_earth.html

Looktel App

In Online/Interactive on March 26, 2010 at 8:25 am


LookTel uses “artificial vision” software to recognize and identify objects for the visually impaired.

With the app, users can point their mobile phones at objects to obtain aural identification. The app can also be used to remotely connect to another person for help with more complicated visual tasks like identifying a street intersection or public transport stop.

You can even add tags to items and use your own voice to identify them – or take pictures of articles and have them read to you! AMAZING!

Google YouTube Video Targets the Most Overlooked Demographic

In Advertising, Online/Interactive, Promotions on March 24, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Watch this quick YouTube video. They get it. You can’t catch all the fish in the ocean with just one net. Here is one they made for (I’m guessing) Boomers/Grandparents that very simply shows: they are in tune with technology as much as the younger demos.

Ad Broad Comes Up to 41

In Competitive landscape, Inspirational/Advice, Marketing, Marketing Meeting, Online/Interactive, Promotions, Social Media on March 24, 2010 at 8:13 pm

On the heels of meeting a completely understated, awesome, inspiring woman, Helen Klein Ross. I had to share her site with you. You can see for yourself what she’s done, said and witnessed. In addition to her sage observations she also has some great links on her blogroll to keep you up for weeks just trying to read and absorb it all. Which leads me to a point that she hit upon several times: When it comes to information on the web-FOCUS. Hone in on what you really want to know, or you can get swept up in the whirling tornado of blogs, tweets, posts, status updates and electronic articles.

She shared with us her thoughts on social media (no one is a true guru, and if anyone proclaims such, they’re probably blowing smoke up your… well, you know), what her biggest OOH…AHHH moments were at SXSW and how she came to be the twitter voice behind Mad Men’s Betty Draper.

Tying into her discussion on social media gurus, she shared a site where you can make movies armed only with the ability to type. When she came to speak to us, she mentioned one of the self-made videos that takes a humorous jab at the Social Media Gurus that are cropping up and selling their wares/expertise. Here is a link to her post where she showcases this video.

Here are some other sites for your Social Arsenal recommended by Ms. Ross and others at our roundtable today :

Twitter Search: You don’t need to Tweet to see what’s aTwitterin’
http://search.twitter.com/

One of the big names in Social Media, and definitely worth following, Chris Brogan http://www.chrisbrogan.com/

The 4 ways you need to engage in Social Media (I’ve added one more: LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com)
www.facebook.com
www.foursquare.com
www.twitter.com
Blogging (popular blog hosts are: Google’s Blogger, WordPress, Typepad)

“The Future of Publishing” from Penguin

In Advertising, Competitive landscape, Inspirational/Advice, Promotions, Social Media on March 23, 2010 at 9:27 pm

I’ve seen this type of thing before but not related to publishing. Each time I see it, it strikes me how creative these people must be. Click on the video, and be sure to watch it at least half-way through.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Penguin turns traditional thought on its head: “The Future of Publishing”

2724022032_3e1c691b98_b The folks at Penguin books had a video produced for an internal presentation that’s truly brilliant in its message and how it is presented. The intent was to make viewers think differently about the future of the publishing industry.

It is a wonderful way to look at an idea, an audience, or an industry–in a turn-tradition-on-its-head kind of way.

How the Web Made Me a Better Copywriter

In Copywriting, Inspirational/Advice, Online/Interactive, Social Media on March 23, 2010 at 9:05 pm

This article is from AIGA – which, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is a professional membership organization for graphic designers.

by Cathy CurtisMarch 31, 2009

In 1999, when I left a staff job at a newspaper to start my own copywriting business, I never even thought about writing for the web. A decade later, most of my work consists of web projects. It struck me recently that this medium has led me to develop a different way of writing—tighter, simpler, more transparent. The results, I believe, are greater clarity and persuasiveness, and a speedier, more user-friendly read.

A different mindset

In my journalism days, newspapers were still thick with ads. There was plenty of room for long stories that “jumped” from page to page. Like any writer who wants to be read, I took pains to craft a compelling opening sentence (the “lede”). But I wasn’t terribly concerned with the mechanics of keeping readers interested throughout the story.

The novelty of the web, on the other hand, made me question every move. During my first few years, I treasured the free online advice offered by Jakob Nielsen and other pioneering web specialists. I became fascinated by theories about how users absorb information online. Everyone seemed to agree that the web user was, above all, impatient.

Everybody’s a scanner

It’s one thing if you’re writing a blog with a devoted following. But a corporate, nonprofit or e-commerce website doesn’t come with a readymade group of friends. If users can’t immediately find what they’re looking for, they move on.

Web users tend to scan information rather than reading it closely. One reason is physiological. Research—by Nielsen, Stanford University/The Poynter Institute and others—has shown that reading pixels on a screen makes eyes work harder than reading ink on paper.

Another impetus for scanning, I believe, is the web’s seemingly limitless content. It’s like being unable to enjoy yourself at a party because you might be having a better time at someone else’s house. Add the growing mania for speed (“This #%&* site is taking 20 seconds to load!”), and it’s clear that web writing has to pick up the pace.

Subheads built for speed

To make copy easier to scan, I break it up with multiple subheads. They act as visual skipping stones—an eye-friendly break from blocks of copy.

Ideally, the subheads can also convey the main points of the story all by themselves, so they can’t be too cute. And they must speak to the general reader, with no insider terminology that would cut the conversation short.

The em-dash is my friend

That little horizontal line is probably the most useful form of punctuation on the web. Commas, semicolons and colons don’t do a good job of visually breaking up information, and they’re hard to see on the screen. Parentheses have to be used carefully, because the words they enclose are understood to be less important than the rest of the sentence.

But the mighty em-dash is easy to see, and democratic in the way it treats words on either side of it. As with everything, you don’t want to overuse Mr. Em. (You’ll note that he doesn’t make an appearance in these two paragraphs.) But he is the strongman of the longer web sentence.

Bullet points have their limits

When I founded my business, Crawford Kilian had just published the first edition of his indispensable guide, Writing for the Web (1999, Self-Counsel Press). One of his virtually unbreakable rules is that no paragraph should be longer than 60 words. But I’ve parted ways with him on the issue of bullet points.

Kilian saw them as the standard eye-friendly solution for sentences that contain multiple statistics, goals, activities and so forth. Up to a point, I agree. But bullet points that march down the page like buttons on a jacket are tiring to read. Back-to-back bulleted lists are visually numbing.

When I bullet information, I try to organize it so that there are no more than seven points. (Graphic designers have taught me that odd numbers are more reader-friendly.) Often, though, I prefer to write sentences that group the items into logical clusters. Topped with a subhead, these “chunks” are easier to read because their rhythm is flowing, not staccato.

Simple words for the average reader

My first newspaper editor told me that I should pitch my writing to someone with eighth-grade reading skills. But as a lifelong bookworm, I was proud of my extensive vocabulary. With the assurance of youth, I protested that I didn’t want my ideas dumbed down.

Years later, a piece I wrote for an early information portal (about how to seek a second medical opinion) was rejected because it wasn’t written for the “average” user. I still hadn’t learned.

Writing simply is a skill

Eventually, it dawned on me that conveying complex ideas in simple terms is actually a skill—one that I was proud to finally master.

Today, I’m comfortable with the idea that writing for the web generally means using only words that are widely understood. It’s not only a question of education. Many websites are intended to reach an international audience unfamiliar with typically American expressions.

Transparency is powerful

Voice is another big issue. As many commentators have noted, writing for the web works best when it speaks directly to the user. That’s why websites are ideally written in the first (“we”) and second person (“you”).

This approach has made my writing much friendlier. Stripped of big words, complex phrases and unnecessary adjectives, copy becomes increasingly transparent—spare and frill-free. Lacking the distracting imposition of a writer’s ego, copy becomes a more powerful tool of persuasion.

Polishing every word

As my web writing grew more compact, it felt as though a spotlight shone on every word. I started reading my copy out loud to catch unintended repetition and awkward phrases. I also began using a larger font to keep my eyes from skating mindlessly over the words I’d written on the screen.

Even so, I’ve always found it necessary to print out every page. Whether due to my near-sightedness or sheer force of habit, editing copy with any degree of precision requires the crisp contrast and tactile immediacy of a hard copy.

Helping refine web architecture

Writing a news story or essay involves placing facts or opinions in a logical sequence. But a reader-friendly website is organized in a visually logical way. This concept was new to me.

“Think like a user” may be a web cliché, but it is the key to producing effective writing in any medium. Much of what I learned about hierarchy came from paying attention to my own navigation—bumpy or smooth—through content-heavy websites written by other people.

Eventually, I took issue with the expectation that a web writer’s role was simply to add content to predetermined slots. From the outset of a web project, I began suggesting that illogical or unwieldy aspects of the site’s architecture be modified. The resulting back-and-forth with designers and developers has led to an increased awareness of how people process information.

I also learned that turf battles can be reduced by making a sincere effort to understand and accommodate the technical issues faced by other web specialists—another version of “thinking like a user.”

Sex, lies and plain talk

By now it might seem that everyone can see the benefits of a plain-spoken, streamlined approach. Unfortunately that’s not true.

Some clients expect a swirl of adjectives around each product. Others believe in perpetuating the empty boasts and vague promises of the traditional “mission statement.” People in certain fields tend to worry about leaving out the less important details of a complex program or procedure.

Trying to effectively counter these objections and explain how the web works best has been a challenge. But—as with all the other aspects of writing for the web—it has made me better at what I do.

10 Essential Design Tools for Social Media Pros

In Cool Treatment/Idea, Design, Inspirational/Advice, Marketing, Social Media on March 23, 2010 at 8:26 pm

 More good stuff from Mashable…

Good design is a critical part of any web or social media presence. Like the clothes you wear to a job interview or a business meeting, a sharp looking social profile or website is the first step toward being taken seriously online. Whether you’re a professional designer or an armchair artiste, tools aboundPen Cup Image that you can use to snazz up your web presence, and give it that polish that professionals, potential customers, and online friends have come to expect from a social media maven. We’ve talked to the experts about what they use for inspiration, collaboration, and getting down to the business of design in a social media world. Here are some of the suggestions they offered up.

To see the sites and resouces, click here.